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Nurses test 'digital pens' to cut down on paperwork

Nurses at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust are replacing notepads and pens with digital devices in a scheme that aims to save £220,000 a year.

Bosses at the trust hope the electronic PaperIQ digi-pen devices, which communicate wirelessly with hospital records to store patient information remotely and securely, will reduce the amount of time spent on data entry.

The pens work by digitally reading and recording the nurses’ handwriting. Their notes are then transmitted through Bluetooth to a BlackBerry smartphone and are forwarded automatically to the hospital’s records system.

Richard Sargent, ICT specialist at the trust, said: “The traditional consultation process for the trust was very paper intensive and required midwives and nurses to record their activities on paper forms when they visited patients’ homes.

“They then had to type up the same details back at the office as the maternity records booklet stays with the mother throughout the term of her pregnancy and post-natal care period.”

The pens also act as a safety device for lone nurses working in risky situations, who, by tapping a code into the notepad, can record conversations in potentially dangerous situations.

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